Saturday, December 10, 2011

CSB Xclusive! Rajeev Govinda Pillai

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai

When an Indian makes it to walk at the London Tommy Hilfiger ramp, consider that it is no mean feat. But that’s what Kerala-born 29 year old Rajeev Govinda Pillai did. It is no surprise then that he has walked all major Indian fashion weeks including Lakme, Wills, Couture et al.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai [Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai [Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai
[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda PillaiWhen I came across Rajeev’s pictures, it immediately clicked that he is a perfect fit for the CSB Xclusive! series. And Rajeev was more than happy to be the next CSB Xclusive! guy. During our interaction, when he revealed that he is now doing movies and two of his films were out this year with two more releases out to be soon, my jaw dropped! Ever since I shifted to Mumbai, I have not been keeping track of Malayalam movies, hence was not aware of the new faces. No wonder he has got an impressive count of fan followers from Kerala.

Before modelling, Rajeev was practicing dentistry at a clinic in Cochin and it was one of his patients who suggested him to pursue modelling. But Rajeev didn’t want to limit himself to Kerala and he decided to leave for Mumbai to try his luck.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai

He got his initial break from fashion designer, Chaitanya Rao. After that there was no stopping for him. He takes proud to have been part of all the major fashion weeks and I see no reason why he shouldn’t be. The photographs shared by him evidently testify that he has got the right attitude and physique to make it big in the industry.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda PillaiUnlike other models, Rajeev doesn’t have a personal trainer. Working out was always a part of his life and he keeps himself updated on fashion and grooming by watching fashions shows from the west and reading lifestyle magazines.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai

Rajeev is passionate about cricket and has played till minor counties in England during his post graduation days. He is now undergoing vigorous practice session for his stint in Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) scheduled to start from January 2012 in Sharjah.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai [Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai

Having left an impressive mark in the modelling world, Rajeev is optimistic about becoming a sought after film star. However, he is also aware of the reality that nothing is permanent in the showbiz field. So when all the glitter settles down, he plans to go back to his dentist clinic which is now run by one of his friends.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Rajeev Govinda Pillai

Thank you Rajeev for taking time out for CSB and for sharing these amazing photographs. Wishing you many more successful movies and hope you will be the next South Indian actor to make transition to Bollywood.

Check out these related posts too!
CSB Xclusive! Sahil Anand Arora
CSB Xclusive! An Interview With Ronald N. Tan
CSB Xclusive! The Indian Hunk Piyush Walia

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Bangalore Gay Pride March Montage By Amar Mitra

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Bangalore Pride

Last week Bangalore celebrated their annual gay pride march and 25 year old Amar Mitra, a freelance cinematographer, was one among the many who turned up to show their support and participate in the walk. But then he ended up doing much more than that; his assemblage of photographs that captured the ebullient spirit of the march is now garnering wide appreciation.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar MitraAmar (in the photo), who has a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia with a film production minor, was instantly inspired by the regalia of colours at the parade.

“Being there, I realized everyone had their own unique story. There was so much to say, so much to be heard. I decided to capture the uniqueness of each person, costume, vantage point. I wanted my pictures to feel personal. Set against the pride itself, I wanted to make each fabulous person stand out. And that’s what I tried to do.”


[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Photography [Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Photography
[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Photography

The way each shot brings out exuberance is just amazing!

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Bangalore Pride

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Bangalore Pride

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Bangalore Pride

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Bangalore Pride

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Bangalore Pride

“I shot on a canon 550D through a 50mm prime and a 55-250 telephoto,” Amar explains. “Mostly telephoto to stay far enough to capture the true essence, but go close and get personal.”

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Photography

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Amar Mitra Photography

Below is a video-montage from the Bangalore gay pride march - shot, edited, compiled, graded and coloured by Amar.

Email subscribers will have to visit the blog site to watch the video.

Amar is now planning to pursue MS in Digital Cinema or MFA in cinematography. So would he be interested in capturing Mumbai Pride Week scheduled in January?

“Sure! I would love to, if someone wants to sponsor my stay. I have never been to Mumbai, so I should wait and see what happens.”

The photographs and video featured in this post are used with permission from Amar Mitra.

Check out these related posts too!
The Great Indian Mainstreaming Of Homosexuality
Indians Being Homophobic And More
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ask Sam: Confused About Sexuality

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Hello?
Image copyrighted by Gay Times | Photographed by Joe Oppedisano

Hey Sam!

I stumbled onto your blog through a link on the Saathi-IIT B Facebook page. Haven't been through a lot of articles yet but it looks pretty good.

Actually the thing is, I am just so confused about my sexuality. I'm 19 and I had my sexual encounter with a guy when I was 14 or 15. It was just about sex, no feelings or anything. We didn't even make out, just down to business! It happened so many times that I can't count. The moment we were alone in the room, I was practically ready to pounce on him. The funny thing is, at that time I didn't even know what it meant. I know its hard to believe, but I actually started getting to know about sex and stuff in high school.

I also sort of had my first crush in grade 11. It was on this guy the first day of class. I specifically remember it because I knew it was just something different. Throughout class I was trying to sneak a peak at him. It kinda washed out the same day after I went to talk to him. I've never truly liked anyone I guess. I can only remember three instances which I can say were quite strong crushes, all guys.

Needless to say, I am pretty sure I am into guys. The tricky thing happened when after a lot of denial, I finally decided to confront it and come out to a few close friends. Fortunately they were completely cool with it, and these are straight guys I'm talking about. My sister, after an initial shock and denial came around to the idea. Although she's asked me not to take a firm decision just yet and keep all my 'options' open!

I don't exactly fit the stereotype, which is why when I told people, they continuously kept telling me that its not true and just something I've gotten into my head. When I told my sis about that incidence when I was 14, she said you were probably just too horny. How do you know for sure, you've never actually been with a girl. Might be that you're bi.

I don't know if its their rambling or the fact that ever since I confronted it I've been analyzing my feelings a lot that I too believe that I've been too quick in deciding. I just wanna sleep with a girl and find out. The problem is, I am not so good with girls and being in an engineering college sure doesn't help my chances there! How will I ever know for sure?

- Confused IITian

Dear Confused IITian, it is clear from your mail that you have strong attraction towards men, which is perfectly fine.  And I applaud your courage for coming out to your sister and straight friends. One thing you must realize is, you don’t have to fit into the stereotypes if you are gay. There are many who are macho in their appearance and behaviour, yet gay.

Ask these couple of questions to yourself:
  • When you see an endowed woman, do your eyes fixate to her breasts? Do you try to get a peek into her cleavage?
  • When you watch straight porn, whose private parts turn you on?
  • When you masturbate, try fantasizing about a woman. What would you want to do with her? Is it helping to release your load?
I know for the fact that I’m 100 percent gay. For all the above situations, a girl is a strict no for me. I live with a bunch of straight guys and I feel really uncomfortable whenever they get too graphical about a girl they have seen. But I know it’s a guy thing and I would have imagined all that if I see an attractive man.

You are just 19. A life filled with rich and varied experience is waiting for you, let it unfold naturally. Do what that makes you feel good and of course, which does not inconvenience others. And if you try to sleep with a girl just to find out whether you will like the experience, most probably it will result in disappointment because your mind will be too preoccupied in analyzing whether you are enjoying each and every act.

Check out these related posts too!
Ask Sam: Entangled With A Married Guy
Ask Sam: Closeted But Acting Homophobic
Ask Sam: Gay Or Not

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Great Indian Mainstreaming Of Homosexuality

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: I Am Omar

Often I have expressed my anger and frustration about how media was being insensitive when dealing with topics surrounding homosexuality and how we were always misrepresented. However, over the past few months, I see that there has been a drastic change on what’s been written about us. Thanks to the High Court rule decriminalizing gay sex, it seems that the media has now got a new-found courage to not to stick to the usual perceptions and instead, they are now trying to bring out the real stories behind the rainbow. And the best part is they are doing this with no qualms which in a sense I feel as if they are shouting, screaming and discussing the topic like never before to compensate all these years of misrepresentation.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: HT Brunch - One Man's StoryIn the month of February this year, for the Sunday magazine of Hindustan Times newspaper – Brunch, the publication ran a cover story titled ‘One Man’s Story’, about the famous stand-up comedian, Vidur Kapur. The article very vividly narrated the troubled childhood and confusion Vidhur had to go through and he couldn’t find any solace from his family either. With every passing day, his self-esteemed dipped making him slip into depression which provoked him to take his life. Even though he didn’t succeed in the attempt, his sufferings didn’t end with this. Soon he had to come out to his family and instead of getting support, he was subjected to even more humiliation – the psychologist they took him to even did chromosome tests on him, to check whether he was a normal male! The doctors, his family and his friends – no one understood him and he shut himself off from the outside world. This moving account then talks about how Vidhur finally made peace with his sexuality, how he tore down all the walls he had built around him, how he found his love and in the end what led to his parents welcome their “son in law”!

To download and read the PDF of the article, click here.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Coming out is such a big event for us because it marks the end of a long struggle.The struggles that Vidhur faced, is experienced by many of us. When I was under depression because of failing to understand why I’m feeling something which was unusual, my parents were not aware. Like many of us, the path of accepting my sexuality was frustrating and tiring, to say the least. And this is why ‘coming out’ is such a big event for us, because it marks the end of a long struggle. This facet of us perhaps was never openly talked about in the mainstream media, until now. And this could be the beginning of the change in their attitudes – sensitizing and enlightening the readers through personal accounts of people like us.

When Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality in 2009, certain political and religious groups challenged the verdict and brought the matter in front of the Supreme Court. However, a touching development took place following this. 19 parents of LGBT children from across the country (along with a group of 16 academics and teachers, and a group of 14 mental health professionals) came forward and submitted their petition to counter this homophobic move. The group of parents is led by Mrs. Minna Saran, the mother of late Nishit Saran.

Nishit was an aspiring film maker and in 1999, he filmed his coming out to his mother. Mrs. Saran accepted her son for who he was. Sadly, Nishit died in a tragic road accident three years later.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Express Eye - My Son Is Gay, And I'm Proud Of HimIn February, The Indian Express daily carried a full-fledged cover story in their Sunday supplement, Express Eye about these parents who dared to openly support their children. The article’s headline screamed, ‘My Son Is Gay, And I’m Proud Of Him’. A very moving piece, it talks about how they felt when their children came out to them and what they thought of the hogwash propagated by their (our) opposition.

You can read the online version of the Express Eye article by clicking here and to watch Nishit's moving documentary of his coming out, "Summer In My Veins", click here to reach the post where I had shared the video long ago.

Last Sunday, NDTV aired the show 'We The People' devoted to the parents’ petition. This is another bold move to bring out the issue to the forefront which showed the parents and the children sharing their experiences and thoughts. During the program it was highlighted how it was clearly breaking the long associated stereotype of gay males being effeminate. It also focused on another important aspect of how the schools should sensitize the issue of sexuality and the care and approach a counselor should take on while counseling a child who seeks help regarding his or her sexuality.

Click on the play button below to watch the episode. If you're reading this post from an email you will have to access the site to view the video.


[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: For most of us  being homosexual was never a choice, but a realization. Equating it with choice is actually insulting our journey of acceptance of who we are.While the whole effort deserves a standing ovation, I just have one chafe - I feel highly disturbed when someone considers homosexuality as a ‘choice.’ Is heterosexuality a choice? For most of us this was never a choice, but a realization. I feel, equating it with choice is actually insulting our journey of acceptance of who we are.

Now I have to strongly emphasize and appreciate the efforts of a newspaper for having balls to come up with their initiative. These guys have actually gone ahead one step further than the rest and are truly mainstreaming homosexuality.
Check out the snapshot of clippings below.
[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: DNA Sunday Mag - Out Of The Closet
For the past two months, DNA newspaper (that’s acronym for Daily News Analysis and not the Australian gay lifestyle magazine) has been dedicating an entire page in their Sunday edition for LGBT issues. This section called 'Out Of The Closet', features diverse stories and realities of what it feels to be part of a minority that is ridiculed and shunned. DNA journalists are talking to various people in the community and bringing out their voice to the much larger audience. This specific page also features guest articles from the well known LGBT personalities in India and provides an update on LGBT news from around the world! Seriously, what more can we ask for! When we were growing up, we had no source of information to reach out to. Hell! We didn’t even know there was a category of population termed homosexuals! (and bisexuals and transsexuals – to be politically correct). And now that this topic is been discussed and debated openly, the path of acceptance of one’s sexuality would hopefully be a much shorter walk for the new generation.

For the sake of convenience for CSB readers, I have collated the 'Out Of The Closet' pages appeared till now and combined them into a PDF. To download and read, click here.

India is also witnessing a trend where entrepreneurs are identifying and realizing the potential of a section of the market which had remained untapped. Now a string of services have sprung up to address the growing demand from the LGBT community. We now have a travel boutique that specifically caters to gays - Indjapink, an exclusive gay event management firm - Salvation Star, a fashion store for gay men - D’Kloset, a retail store that sells practically everything LGBT related from t-shirts and accessories to mugs - Azaad Bazaar, a dedicated web portal to shop for queer books, DVDs and CDs - Queer Ink, an annual [Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Sunday Mid Day - It's A Pink DealInternational LGBT Film Festival - Kashish, a gay lifestyle magazine - Fun and the latest, a discount card specifically for the LGBT crowd (claiming to be Asia's first) that is going to be launched on April 27. The tabloid Sunday Mid Day carried an article, 'It's A Pink Deal' (again a cover story) in January on the boom of Pink commerce in India (especially in Mumbai), which was written as a precursor for the Mumbai Pride Week.

To download the PDF of this article, click here.

The Supreme Court of India is expected to deliver the final judgment on legalization and decriminalization of gay sex sometime after July. There are many who have been fighting tirelessly to bring about the changes that we are witnessing now. Hope we will be able to sustain this momentum and good sense prevails for the world's largest democracy to succeed in ushering equality to its citizens. We have a long way to go in bringing anti-discrimination laws at public and work places, legalizing gay marriages and in laying down inheritance laws and adoption rights. But nevertheless, this is a good start!

The very first picture used for this article is a still from Onir's latest feature film, 'I Am' slated to release on coming Friday. 'I Am' is a fusion of four stories, in which one deals with sexual discrimination and how police uses Article 377 to harass and blackmail gay men. You can view the theatrical trailer of 'I Am' by clicking here.


Check out these related posts too!
Indians Being Homophobic And More
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The New Face Of Indian Homophobia
An Equal Love

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hello?

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Hello?

I was browsing through the book section the other day. With no intention to buy, I was reading the blurbs of the many Indian fictions that were displayed on the racks. I was also hoping that it would be nice if I stumble upon a book that had a gay character as the protagonist.

After a couple of brief blurb-reading, a title hinting of a homosexual subtext caught my eye. It read 'You Are Not Alone'. Curiosity gripped as I flipped the book over and read the back to see what it was about – ‘Sanjay Sanghavi is a single urban homosexual counting the last minutes of his life...’ Waaow, can’t believe I have actually hit the jackpot!

At the last Queer-Ink’s book fair in Mumbai, I did bump into a number of gay fictions, but the sheer amount of titles was so overwhelming that it was becoming a task to choose one over the other. And here in Cochin, discovering one from a bunch where I least expected gave me a sense of accomplishment.

I flipped through the pages, tried to read paragraphs from here and there. I wanted to make sure it was something I could relate to. When I found myself checking how the ending would be, I shut the book and decided to buy.

Now my two cents on this while keeping it as vague as possible:

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: You Are Not Alone By Arun Mirchandnani
Sanjay’s story is not an extraordinary one, but it has moments which we long for. If we look at ourselves, we all could relate to what he went through – the usual, the unusual, the good and the bad. And this is exactly the beauty and strength of Arun Mirchandani’s debut novel. It doesn’t take you to unbelievable fantasy trips and yet keeps one hooked till the end. Being a light read, You Are Not Alone could be a solace to those who are trying to come in terms with their sexuality - if not an answer, at least a hope.

(Click on the cover to read the blurb. Courtesy: Frogbooks.net)


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